CARS.COM — Volkswagen's all-new-for-2018 Atlas adds one more accolade — or, five more, as it were — to its crashworthiness count. The seven-passenger SUV earned the full five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Five-Star Safety Ratings program for both front- and all-wheel-drive versions.
The Atlas earned perfect scores in frontal- and side-crash ratings, and four out of five stars for rollover evaluations, for an overall score of five stars. The SUV newcomer joins the 2018 Golf lineup, Jetta, Jetta GLI and Passat, as well as the 2017 Beetle, as five-star-rated members of the VW family.
"[The] Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which is standard on all models," VW said in a statement. "This system builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact — the most significant of which can cause additional collisions.
"The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage."
Despite its five-star NHTSA rating and Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Atlas fell short of IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus honor, earning requisite good scores in all five crash tests and a superior rating for its optional front crash prevention system, but receiving only a marginal rating for its headlights.
Versus 2017 competitors, the Atlas only fared better than the Ford Explorer, which failed to earn an IIHS accolade due to a marginal score in the small overlap front crash test, a basic rating for front crash prevention and a poor score for headlights. The Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander all earned the Plus designation. In the NHTSA ratings, the 2018 Explorer, 2017 Pilot and 2018 Highlander all earned five stars, while the CX-9 has not been rated for either the 2017 or 2018 model year.